Uganda: Back-to-School Season Fails to Raise Sales for Kampala Traders

18 September 2023
Nile Post News (Kampala)

As students excitedly return to school for the third term of the year, traders in various parts of Kampala find themselves facing an unexpected challenge: low sales.

This unexpected downturn in business has been attributed to the soaring cost of living and exorbitant school fees, which have left many parents in a tight spot.

Hopes were high that the back-to-school shopping season would provide a much-needed boost to traders' sales, but the reality has been quite different. In the bustling heart of downtown Kampala, where parents usually embark on shopping sprees, traders are lamenting a noticeable decrease in customer turnout.

Brian Mugerwa, a seasoned trader operating in downtown Kampala, shared his observations, revealing that only a fraction of their usual clients turned up to purchase scholastic materials, despite the season being a traditional shopping period for parents.

Mugerwa pointed out that changes in the prices of some imported scholastic materials may have deterred customers from making purchases.

For some parents, the scarcity of funds, exacerbated by the recent price hikes in scholastic materials, has forced them to make difficult decisions about their back-to-school spending priorities.

However, the situation becomes even murkier when considering whether some parents may have opted to purchase school supplies during the holidays to avoid last-minute hassles.

While traders grapple with declining sales, some students may find themselves stuck at home for weeks, as their parents struggle to raise the necessary school fees. In certain schools, learners are still contending with unpaid fees balances from the previous term.

The back-to-school season, which typically breathes life into Kampala's trading centres, has taken an unexpected turn this year, reflecting the economic challenges facing parents and traders alike.

As the cost of education continues to rise, both stakeholders are left grappling with difficult decisions and uncertain futures.

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